What Happens in the Beginning of a Case?

How Does My Case Start?

Beginning Stages of a Criminal Case

The Arrest

Arrests usually occur as the result of a criminal investigation, a traffic stop, or police being called to a situation. An arrest is more than taking someone into custody. An arrest is the beginning of building a criminal case against someone. The officer(s) who respond will gather witness statements, gather evidence, and also speak with the person being arrested.

The difficulty in preparing a defense to charges is often set by things that happen during the arrest. A defense case can be complicated if, during the arrest, the accused says anything incriminating, or accrues additional charges for resisting, obstructing, eluding, or anything similar.

Bail and Bonding Out of Jail

Bail bond is essentially providing money to an arresting jurisdiction as a good-faith gesture that if they let you out of jail, you will show up for court. If you show up for court the bond money is returned to you. If you do not show up the jurisdiction will keep all of the bond money and issue a bench warrrant for your arrest (FTA - Failure to Appear).

A Failure to Appear will greatly complicate your situation. Even if you have not hired a lawyer by your court date, you need to show up to court.

Anyone arrested for a misdemeanor charge may benefit from a bond schedule which makes it possible to get out of jail relatively quick. Charges such as a first-time DUI or shoplifting usually have a pre-set amount to bond out of jail. In this situation you may be able to get out of jail within a few hours.

Anyone arrested in Georgia for a more serious charge wil be held in jail until they have a preliminary hearing where they will stand before a judge and face charges A preliminary hearing must occur within 72 hours of the arrest.

Hiring a Defense Lawyer

Whether you are facing misdemeanor charges or felony charges, you need to hire a defense lawyer as soon as possible. The first step is to call a lawyer's office and request a consultation.

At your consultation with a lawyer everything discussed is confidential. The lawyer will ask you to explain your situation and will ask questions to get a better understanding of the matter. The lawyer can answer your questions, explain what to expect, and possible outcomes.

To hire a lawyer, you will need to sign an Agreement and pay a retainer fee. The retainer fee is a sum of money from which the law firm will draw payments for work performed. You should receive a monthly billing statement indicating services provided and the balance of your account. For major offenses it is very common to have to pay far more than the original retainer, especially if the case moves forward to a full-blown jury trial.

After You've Hired a Lawyer

After you have hired a lawyer you will probably need to invest more time to answer questions about the details of your case. Your chosen law firm has a tremendous amount of work to do in order to prepare and implement criminal defense services.

Attorney-Client Communications. As much as it is desired, it is not practical for a law firm to call or text a client with constant updates. You need to understand that your lawyer needs time to go through the facts of your case, speak with the prosecutor, perhaps hire an investigator, and meet with the in-house team doing a lot of the phone calls and paperwork. The amount of time and cost to manage a defense case is somewhat proportional to the seriousness of the charges.

Timely Important Updates. Your defense law firm will be in touch with you about milestone events and significant changes including any court appearances. The manner in which a defense case progresses varies depending upon the nature of charges, attitude of the prosecutor, and opportunites to obtain resolution.

Directions Your Case Can Go. The ideal result in a defense case is getting charges are dropped or dismissed. If the evidence is stacked against you it may be wise to plead guilty, and take advantage of a First Offender Program, and avoid a criminal record (Click Here to Ask us How). Alternatively, you accept a plea deal and get some leniency in sentencing, or you take your chances with a jury trial.


If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you need to hire an expert defense lawyer. Call us at 770-956-1400 to arrange time to discuss your situation and get answers to your questions.